This charter summarises our commitments to you, our customer. It explains the level of service and information you should expect to receive from us at appropriate stages during your purchase.
What you can expect from us
1. We will give you a copy of our customer charter if you ask for one. We will automatically give you a copy if you reserve a property.
“Our customer charter is important in setting out our commitments to you. We will publish our charter in our sales centres and a copy is available on our website. If, for any reason, you have not received a copy before you reserve a property, please do not hesitate to ask for one”.
2. We will work to set procedures to meet the commitments we have stated in our customer charter.
“We have systems and procedures to help ensure that:
- we can give you the information and service to enable you to make a well-informed and enjoyable purchase; and
- we can deliver a good after-sales service.
We will provide you with a flow of information as the purchase proceeds. For example once you have reserved your property, we will provide you with a RESERVATION Manual, which will provide useful information that helps you through this stage of the process and gives details on the service we will provide and prior to legal completion you will receive a home information pack that we call a HANDOVER Manual. We will also meet you at various stages to explain:
- the process; and
- the details of your new home
3. We will train our staff to understand their responsibilities in our dealings with you and what the customer charter means for you.
“Our Customer Care& Sales teams are responsible for dealing with any questions you may have at any stage when buying (Sales) the property and afterwards (Customer Care). They have been trained to understand their personal responsibilities to you, the company’s main legal responsibilities to you, and the commitments we have made to you under our customer charter. If you need to talk to us, please contact us and we will be pleased to help you. We will contact you when necessary”.
4. We will seek to ensure that you appoint a professional legal advisor to carry out the legal formalities of buying the property and to represent your interests.
“You should choose and appoint a solicitor or conveyancer to:
- represent your interests; and
- deal with the legal formalities of buying the property including exchange of contracts, legal completion, handover and occupation".
5. We will give you health and safety advice to reduce, as far as possible, the risk of danger on the development site during construction and in the use of your home.
“We will let you know about the health and safety precautions that you and we must take before you visit a development site and if you are living on a development where construction work is continuing. We will give you a health and safety file for your home under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. We will do this after you have been given notice of the legal completion date at, or just before, handover. We appreciate that you may want to look at your home while we are building it. However, building sites are dangerous and are defined in law as ‘workplaces’. We are legally responsible for the site where work is taking place and we must not, by law, allow access to the public. For your own safety you must never go onto the development site without our prior agreement. We may not always be able to give this agreement. However, when we can, we will make arrangements and provide the protective clothing, footwear or other equipment you may need. You must use it while on our development site”.
6. We will assist you in understanding the specification and answer any reasonable questions you may have at every stage of your purchase
“We will give you the name and contact details of our staff, who will be responsible for helping you during the buying process. We will also explain how we will deal with your questions. We will give you all the pre-contract information you need before you are expected to exchange contracts. We will write it in plain language, without jargon, to help you make an informed decision about buying the property. Pre-contract information should usually cover:
- the main contract terms of sale including price;
- pricing information, showing the total price and a breakdown of how we have reached the price;
- details of the home including land and communal areas, location, development site layout, demarcation and boundary details;
- a sketch layout plan with approximate room sizes marked;
- summary details of the type of construction of the house;
- the energy-efficiency rating of the home;
- the fixtures and fittings to be included;
- any agreed alterations to the std specification (if available – not the norm due to the historic/complex buildings and the build programme );
- the type of heating system and number of radiators or outlets;
- kitchen and bathroom layouts;
- summary of the external works and materials;
- details of things that may not be finished before you buy the property, such as final surfacing to roads and footpaths and landscaping; and
- details of any costs or charges in the initial year, where known, for which you will be responsible
7. Our marketing and advertising will be clear and truthful.
“We will make sure all our marketing literature and advertisements comply with relevant laws and advertising codes”.
8. Our contract-of-sale terms and conditions will be clear and fair.
“The contract-of-sale terms and conditions that we enter into with you will be clear and fair. They will comply with the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999”.
9. We will make clear to you your cancellation rights.
“We will give you clear and accurate information in the contract-of-sale so that you can understand any cancellation rights relating to your purchase”.
10. We will explain how we protect your deposit and how we deal with any other pre-payments.
“We will make sure we protect any property reservation deposits and contract deposits that we receive from you. If we receive other pre-payments from you, we will tell you how we will deal with them”.
11. We will give you reliable information about the timing of construction, legal completion and handover of the property. Once a completion date is set we will ensure that:
- the transfer of ownership takes place; and
- the functions and facilities of the property are demonstrated to you.
“Once you have reserved your property, we will regularly contact you to keep you informed of construction progress. We will give you information about when we expect the construction of the property to be completed, which will become more definite as building work nears completion.
- Before the foundations are completed we will let you know what season we expect the property to be completed.
- When the roof is complete, we will let you know what month we expect the property to be completed.
- When the property is decorated, we will let you know what week we expect the property to be completed.
The date of legal completion will be agreed with you to fall within the notice period already agreed with you in the contract-of-sale. We will give you an information pack (Handover Manual) about your home at, or just before, we hand over the property to you. The information pack about your home will contain:
- health and safety information, including the health and safety file for your home required under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007;
- product information including instructions for the heating system;
- guidance on any items that need servicing and maintenance;
- an explanation of our after-sales procedures;
- a copy of the NHBC’s booklet ‘Guide to your new home’, which is applicable in its entirety to our new build homes that come within the NHBC scheme/s and provides good advice for City & Country’s conversions that benefit from a Professional Consultant’s Certificate, although all references to Buildmark Cover and NHBC should be ignored. However City & Country ensure that all their new work (this excludes historic work not carried out by City & Country or their contractors) complies with the NHBC Standards Chapter 1.2 - A consistent approach to finishes so this document is applicable. Historic chimneys will generally have been smoke tested but will not have a notice plate.
We will also offer to meet you at your property, at an agreed time, to demonstrate how the facilities work (Home Demonstration). This will show you how everything works and point out important items including the position of stop valves, the electrical consumer unit, gas-control valves, and the central-heating controls and hot-water systems.
We will discuss and explain any points you are not clear about.
You will be given the keys to your property when your solicitor has paid us and the sale has been legally completed. This legal formality must take place to protect your and our position. To avoid delay and disappointment, please make sure that your solicitor and any mortgage lender are fully aware of your timetable and arrangements. We will arrange with you for a member of our staff to be available and make sure that your home is clean and that there is safe and clear access”.
12. We will inform you clearly about the after-sale and emergency services that we will provide for a certain period after completion.
“We hope there will be no problems after you have moved in to your new home, but our commitment to you continues after the sale has been completed. So we will give you details of the person to contact about any requests for non-urgent service calls or emergencies. We will make sure that you know what to do if you need a non-urgent service call or if there is an emergency. We will repair defects in your home in line with the terms of the guarantees and warranties that are applicable to your new home. However, we are not responsible for problems caused by wear and tear, decorating and routine maintenance. You are responsible for these items”.
- Non-urgent service calls
“Our information pack gives details of our non-urgent service call contacts and procedures”.
“By emergency we mean a problem that is, or seems to be, an immediate danger to your property or to health, safety or security. This does not include:
- Anything caused by failing to follow operating instructions or take reasonable precautions;
- Fair wear and tear; and
- Events such as storm damage that are outside the house builder’s control and normally covered by household insurance.
Our information packs gives details of our emergency contacts, procedures and response times”.
13. We will provide you with reliable information about any warranties or guarantees such as professional indemnity certificates or NHBC Buildmark to which you have the benefit
“You will find details of the cover in your legal documentation, which you will receive from us through your solicitor. You should read it carefully and ask your solicitor to explain anything you do not understand.”
14. We will tell you about our procedures for dealing with customer complaints
“Our information will contain details of how you can use our complaints system.
If you are dissatisfied with any part of the service you have received from us under our charter, please contact our customer care manager at our head office, 01279 817882”.
15. We will listen to you, our customers, in order to improve our procedures and level of performance
“At City & Country we strive to provide a good service and product. We are passionate about trying to commercially improve our service and products and welcome any constructive observations that our customers may have on how we could achieve this goal. We proactively seek these observations through customer questionnaires at key stages in the home purchasing and owning process and hope that you will help us by participating in our process of continual improvement”
16. We will co-operate with appropriately qualified professional advisors you have appointed to help resolve disputes.
“We will co-operate with your appropriately qualified professional advisors to sort out disputes. You will need to write to us to:
- say who you want to represent you; and
- give details of his/her qualifications.
We will want to provide the same level of co-operation as we would give you if you were acting alone. So if we do not think your representative is appropriately qualified, we will discuss the matter with you. For example, an architect may not always be qualified to deal with a structural engineering matter”.
Finally in order that we can deliver on our commitments to you summarised within this Customer Care Charter,
What we would like from our customers
1. We ask that you use professional, suitably qualified and proficient representation throughout the house buying and owning process, which should provide you with good guidance, inform you of what to expect and answer your legitimate queries.
2. We ask you to take Health & Safety issues seriously and comply with our requirements.
3. We ask for open, honest dialogue that is conducive to a good working relationship.
4. We ask that we are kept informed of any issues or delays.
5. We ask you to ensure that the professionals employed by you perform to the detailed timetable agreed within your Reservation and Heads of Terms forms.
6. We ask you to talk to us if we fail in any way to meet reasonable expectations.
Improved and Adopted City & Country 10-5-08